Sunday, November 18, 2012

Somalia swears in new cabinet ministers

By Sabahi Staff

November 16, 2012

Somalia's Chief Justice Aidid Abdullahi Ilka Hanaf presided over the swearing in ceremony of the new cabinet ministers Thursday (November 15th) at the presidential compound in Mogadishu.
  • Foreign Affairs Minister Fowsiyo Yusuf Haji Aadan (left) and Minister of Defence Abdihakim Mohamud Haji Mohamud Fiqi (right) sit with other cabinet ministers after being named by the prime minister on November 4th. [Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP] Foreign Affairs Minister Fowsiyo Yusuf Haji Aadan (left) and Minister of Defence Abdihakim Mohamud Haji Mohamud Fiqi (right) sit with other cabinet ministers after being named by the prime minister on November 4th. [Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP]
Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said his cabinet would work with members of parliament to move Somalia forward.
"We will consult with you and come to you when we face difficult tasks," he said, according to Radio Mogadishu, adding that his cabinet would respect parliament's role in Somalia's governance. "I am ecstatic to see parliament and the council of ministers work together."
Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari told Radio Mogadishu on Friday that restoring and strengthening the country's justice system should be a top priority for the new government.
The government must deliver a judicial system that Somalis can trust and have faith in, he said. The speaker vowed to work closely with the new cabinet to restore that trust.
The ten-member cabinet is one of the smallest in the country's history and includes two women ministers -- Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Fowsiyo Yusuf Haji Aadan and Minister of Development and Social Affairs Minister Maryan Qasim Ahmed.
The other ministers are: Minister of Finance Mohamud Hassan Suleiman, Minister of Defence Abdihakim Mohamud Haji Mohamud Fiqi, Minister of Interior and National Security Abdikarim Hussein Guled, Minister of Information and Telecommunications Abdullahi Ilmoge Hirsi, Minister of Natural Resources Abdirizaq Omar Mohamed, Minister of Justice and Religious Affairs Abdullahi Abyan Nur, Minister of Trade and Industries Mohamud Ahmed Hassan and Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction Muhiyadin Mohamed Kaalmoy.
Foreign Affairs Minister Aadan was not present at the swearing in ceremony because she travelled to Djibouti on Wednesday for the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
The Development and Social Affairs Minister also spoke at the swearing in ceremony, reminding the new cabinet that they were sworn into office for the service of their country. Ahmed pledged that the cabinet would perform its duties with honesty.

International leaders congratulate new ministers

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the new cabinet put forward by the prime minister and endorsed by the country's parliament.
"This marks another important step in the determined efforts by Somalia's new leadership to bring about a positive change in Somalia," Ban's spokesperson said in a statement.
Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Somalia, Ambassador Boubacar Diarra, also congratulated the government for swearing in such a diverse and inclusive cabinet.
"This represents a significant milestone for Somalia as it continues along its journey to peace and stability," he said. "The size and composition of the new cabinet reflects Somalia's determination to inaugurate a new era of inclusivity and accountability in its public affairs and we at the African Union Mission in Somalia applaud this achievement."
US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice praised the Somali parliament's "swift and decisive cabinet endorsement", according to her Twitter page. She said it was a "hopeful sign of a new era in Somalia".

Deepening neighbourly relations

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki congratulated Somali leaders and said the people of Somalia have achieved another remarkable milestone in the country's democratic transition.
He said that the endorsement of the new cabinet gives Kenya and Somalia the opportunity to begin earnest bilateral engagements at various levels. He said the move would deepen the two countries' relationship, especially in peace building, reconstruction, and institutional and capacity building.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn congratulated Shirdon and his new cabinet and said his government hopes to further strengthen its relations with Somalia.
"It is my firm conviction that with the able leadership of you and you appointed ministers, the people of the Federal Republic of Somalia will enjoy the continuity and benefits of democracy, peace and development," he said in a letter addressed to Shirdon dated Monday.
"It is my hope that this event will allow the existing fraternal relations between our two sisterly countries to be further strengthened," the letter said. Desalegn expressed his best wishes for the "peace and prosperity" of the Somali people.
Both Kenya and Ethiopia have deployed troops fight al-Shabaab in Somalia, and have been integral in ousting the al-Qaeda-allied group from key strongholds.

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